Our special guest for this new edition is a leader with a results-oriented strategic vision, with experience at the highest levels of private and government companies.
She was also General Director of the International Tourism Promotion Fund of Panama and responsible for the launch of this organization, as well as the planning, design and execution of marketing strategies and execution of two international promotion campaigns, among many other responsibilities of the highest level.
With a Master’s Degree in Coaching and Personal Leadership from the University of Barcelona, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Centenary University, New Jersey (USA), Liriola Pitty has worked to promote the advancement of women in business and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Red Cross of Panama (Central Committee).
Born in Chiriqui, Liriola Pitty is currently Executive Director of Re-Activate Panama program that works to promote the alliance for entrepreneurship and innovation throughout the country, and in an exclusive interview she speaks to The Visitor about entrepreneurship, the tourism and the importance of family.
How is Panama working to make a difference in tourism and how the industry has evolved?
“Tourism has changed a lot compared to when I was director of Panama Institute of Tourism twenty years ago, the Panamanian industry has evolved positively, a very significant number of new developments has been created, not only in terms of hotels but also in cruise ports and airports. The current market in Panama is totally different, and obviously all the incentives that have been given for this to be the case have had a positive result in terms of infrastructure development. It is not the same in other areas, but the infrastructure development has been very extraordinary.”
You are managing the program Re-Activate Panama, an international initiative that seeks the sustainable development of tourism. What motivated you to be part of this project?
“As executive director of the alliance for entrepreneurship and innovation in Panama, I feel great satisfaction with Re-Activate Turismo program, in this case, focused in one area of the country. It is a pilot project that we intend to replicate in other areas and it motivates me a lot to be part of this project because it is not only in the field of tourism that we are working, we also work on entrepreneurship issues of incorporation into the market and the national economy. Those small hostels, tourist activities, tour guides, those activities that are fabulous in communities and towns that have not had the opportunity to develop at a higher level and have the guide to organize their economic activity in a way that is profitable and have both proper marketing and promotion. This pilot project of Reactivate Panama Tourism in the Herrera and Los Santos provinces should culminate in about eight months, then we will see the results and will be able to measure if our effort has had the development that we are betting on.”
In Re Activate Panama program, Pedasi was selected as a pilot plan, what analysis did it carry out for that region to be selected, what are you looking to develop?
“The analysis that was carried out to choose the area of the Reactivate Panama Tourism program was focused on the effects of the pandemic in some of the economic areas of the country. It was defined in a study carried out by an external consultant that the most suffered economic areas were tourism and agriculture, and particularly tourism in the provinces of Herrera and Los Santos and agriculture in Chiriqui, that is why these two private sector programs developed through AEI Panama to promote these important activities, are being developed in two regions: tourism in Pedasi and agriculture in Chiriqui, highlands.”
You are a mother, a life commitment that covers all aspects of society, how do you see the role of mothers within the tourism venture seeking a better life for themselves and their children?
“Yes, I am proudly a mother and a grandmother too. So, I love the opportunity that God has given me and life to be able to guide my daughters in that role that today they are also mothers also looking for the best for their daughters. In this sense and on the subject of entrepreneurship, I think the best thing is to communicate by example and be able to be an enterprising, hard-working, cheerful, enthusiastic, passionate and happy person. I think that these are the conditions that as a mother are supposed to be an example for my daughters and it is a difficult issue because we do not always do everything right, I have made many mistakes and I try to correct them every day and be a better person, woman and obviously a better mother.”
What should the tourism industry do to support mothers to have a better balance between their responsibility as a mother and that of their business or work?
“I believe that the vital role that mothers have in the development of society should encourage youth to be honest, loyal, passionate, to have clear objectives, to be entrepreneurs, and to be responsible. Knowing that it is possible to work, be a mother, guide, have fun, and it is possible to combine everything and execute it in a positive way, at least the best that each one can, and with this contribute to the development of our society and our country. Particularly in the tourism industry, because I believe, as in any other activity, mothers have an important role and perhaps it will be to appreciate the beauty of our country, promote it, value it and be able to have that good and clear look that not only sees that negative part, but highlights the positive and tries to make amends for what is not right.”
Your experience in local and international tourism promotion allows you to have a clear vision of what the country needs to work on to reach other countries in the region in tourism. What are the pending tasks?
“Probably what we need in international promotion is to have a clear identity, above all a recognized brand that is not changing every time it changes or the director of the tourism authority wants to, as has unfortunately happened this year, and that they have a defined and unified identity between PROMTUR and the Panama Tourism Authority, which is a single name. Panama has to go out to the world united in a single image design that can be quickly recognized that reveals and identifies our national identity. Regarding the issue of promotion, obviously it needs to be sustained over time with adequate budgets and to have the relevance of our greatest tourist attractions and the wonderful tourist offer of this country.”
Photos courtesy: Liriola Pitty.